Travelling to New Zealand was a completely new experience for me, as I had never travelled to another English-speaking country (other than the US). The landscapes were completely different than what I was used to in Ontario. There were beaches, endless green rolling hills, windy roads, and so much more. The culture was very different from what I was used to in North America, and I fell in love with it. I had also travelled over during the Christmas holiday, when it’s summertime and most of the country goes into ‘holiday mode’ for two weeks to spend the holiday together with family and friends. What better combination is there then having Christmas and summertime together? I can’t think of one!
My partner is originally from Dunedin, which is located on the South Island of NZ. I was able to meet my partner’s lovely family and got to celebrate some Christmas celebrations with them all, which was beautiful. I can never thank his family enough for welcoming me into their family with such open arms. While in Dunedin, my partner made sure I experienced all the city had to offer. Here’s a short description of some of the iconic places I got to visit:
Royal Albatross Centre
Located along the Otago Peninsula, which is just a short drive from the city, the Royal Albatross Centre is a must if you’re ever in Dunedin. The drive in around the peninsula not only has a the most amazing views and gorgeous landscape, but there’s also heaps of wildlife you see on the way, including seals! Once arriving, what makes this place unique is not only the views high-up on the cliffs, but also the fact that it is the world’s only mainland Royal Albatross breeding colony. While visiting, you’ll see countless Albatross soaring up above you! Take a gander in the building and you’ll learn everything there is to know about the Royal Albatross.
So, Baldwin Street was actually just around the corner from where my partner’s mum lives. It’s the world’s steepest residential street. Houses on this street literally look like fun houses because of how they are built along the hill. Interestingly enough, the street is actually surfaced in concrete rather than asphalt, as the tar would flow down the slope on a warm day. It’s also to provide a better grip during the winter, as it tends to get quite cold and icy in Dunedin. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture the steepness of this hill in any of my photographs, so I highly recommend you just see this street for yourself!
My first few days in New Zealand were a whirlwind, but everything about it was perfect, and I couldn’t have imagined a better city to be my first stop in this beautiful country. It wasn’t long after this that my partner and I ventured off on our road trip around the South Island where we stopped at places including: Queenstown, Milford Sound, Nelson, Picton and much more.